OrCAD / Allegro – Doing what it says on the tin




Just over a year ago I was in the fortunate position of starting a fresh new job. The bad news is that I was about to discover what a pig Orcad and subsequently Allegro is to use. At first i was using a 7 year old version of OrCad that I was struggling with to get it to do some of the simple things in life like find it’s libraries, or to work out where the design it should be reading from was located. Simple stuff… I thought.

I was delving into the 90’s world of superuser .ini files and while some features worked, others I failed miserably to get going, no matter what I did. By some fluke of fortune I managed to complete the design I carrying out and I thought ” the next design will be better”. I thought this because the company was updating the software to the new version.



The new version of Allegro would be able to link to a database for library parts, and all kinds of other features. I was promised it was better… Then it arrived. I was disappointed to say the least, in the same way I was disappointed that my job, which after 5 weeks was going to end because they were shutting down the facility. Thank you Mflex, you only just recruited me! Anyway, Allegro still used our 90’s friend the .ini file to make it run. Copying between designs was still l prohibited, which was a major problem, requiring me to duplicate designs. For the love of God, I couldn’t make it link to any database and I’ve never found a PCB design tool before or since without a library manager function built into it (this cost more money).

It was unintuitive, clunky still and it was STILL OrCAd, there was no escaping it. Doing anything I needed to go to You Tube and watch a video. The support office in New York must have thought I was some kind of idiot, it was a truly hideous experience. I’ve spent my life in engineering learning how to do different things, to go outside of my comfort zone and pick up new skills. OrCAD defeated me though, I never had the time to pick it up unfortunately, but in any case I found it so hard to use properly. If you’re and OrCAD / Allegro user and like it and can use it – well done to you, seriously. You managed to achieve what I couldn’t and if it works for you, then even better. But for me… it didn’t do what it said on the tin.

PCB Mechanic



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